Sunday, March 16, 2014

today, the brightness

The sun and sky in Santa Fe are bold things, taking precedence over house, road, shrub. The light yesterday evening before the movie theater (we saw Child's Pose) demanded attention. Today, the brightness has overtaken the adobe homes, the blossoming branches, the pepper garlands hanging in the courtyards.

I'm in New Mexico with Ilene! Tomorrow, hot springs and one-lane mountain roads on our way to Arizona.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

in concert

I ended up at the funniest little concert Tuesday night, a klezmer/bluegrass trio in the basement of the synagogue at 53 Charles Street in the West Village. Andy Statman played clarinet and mandolin, accompanied by a drummer and a bassist. There were fewer than ten of us in the audience, though I've heard there's usually a crowd. We were ushered through a dark corridor and into a long room lined with books, old photographs, boxes of napkins and plastic cutlery, board games and menorahs, and a mess of paintings propped up wherever they would fit. Upon arrival, Herman, the synagogue president, immediately opened the liquor cabinet, shuffling through dusty bottles of scotch and rum (so strong!) and passing them around.

Andy will be back in the basement tonight (Thursday), probably around 9 PM. Don't worry if you arrive on time and the place looks empty - on Tuesday, at five past nine, the doors were locked, and we had resigned ourselves to just having a wine picnic on the synagogue steps when Herman pulled up in his minivan, rolled down the window and yelled out that he'd let us in as soon as he found a parking spot.

Andy Statman Trio
53 Charles Street
Thursday March 13
9 PM or thereabouts
Recommended donation is $15 if you can. Go!

And thank you, Danny, for this strange and wonderful discovery.

Split Decision by Kayla Varley

Monday, March 10, 2014

american songster

Last week, I went to see this guy (up there), Dom Flemons, and his banjo at Greenwich House, a music school and community center in the West Village. He was playing with Eli "Paperboy" Reed as part of the Café au Go Go Revisited festival, which is featuring different musicians every Thursday until April 24.

I'd been wanting to see him for awhile, having discovered his old group, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, while procrastinating on a work assignment at my internship last summer. He was more than what I imagined him being, a blues man, a soul singer, a string-picker, a bone-shaker.

He'll be back in New York at the Brooklyn Folk Festival April 18, and of course I'm going. He's touring now - see him if you can.

And here's the video that brought me to him:

P.S. The Chocolate Drops will be playing at BAM April 10!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

l'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux

The Morgan Library and Museum has up a Little Prince exhibit until the end of April. A nice collection of Antoine de St. Exupery's sketches and illustrations are on view along with a handful of photographs, letters, and biographical anecdotes of the funny man who dreamed up one of French literature's most iconic bonhommes. Very exciting to see all of those drawings in the flesh - the lonely Rose, the Fox who wanted to be tamed, my favorite Baobab trees, and of course the boa constrictor who ate the elephant.

I went last week on a very cold day with my friend Ilene (whose Tumblr I'll fawn over another time) and my Bangladeshi countryman, Sham. It was a special visit for Sham, who doesn't read this blog, so I can tell you a few things about him. He owns the Belgian beer bar Vol de Nuit in the Village, named after another of St. Exupery's books. He also once traveled from Dhaka to Strasbourg by bicycle, a three-year journey with weeks-long stopovers in friendly lands and near-death experiences in the Afghan desert. He washed dishes and cleaned houses as he went along, and he was jailed in India for 15 days because he didn't have a visa. India alone took him nine months to cross, a vast country.

He'd hate my reducing those years to an internet-byte, but I thought you had to know.

General admission to the Morgan's exhibits (there's also one on woodcuts) is $12, a bit steep I think but worth it if you're a deep appreciator of the book, and a lot of people are.

And a tribute to the Prince's lovely Rose: